Fear and anxiety are part of life.
The high stressed, overworked, perfectionistic lifestyle many of us are attempting to live is causing our US society a lot of anxiety.
There are many anxiety symptoms but despite their different forms, all anxiety disorders share one major symptom: persistent or severe fear or worry in situations where most people wouldn’t feel threatened.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America give the following statistics about anxiety disorders in the US on their website:
- “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
- Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
- People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
- Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.”
Another interesting point about anxiety is the role it plays in conjunction with depression. Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point.
Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression often creates anxiety symptoms (and vice versa), it’s important to seek treatment for both conditions.
In fact, nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Seeking help, treatment, and support can lessen anxiety along with finding techniques to avoid or prevent anxiety before it becomes problematic in one’s life.
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder. It causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror for no reason. You may also feel physical symptoms, such as:
- Fast heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulty
Panic attacks can happen anytime, anywhere and without warning. You may live in fear of another attack and may avoid places where you have had an attack. For some people, fear takes over their lives and they cannot leave their homes.
Panic disorder is more common in women than men. It usually starts when people are young adults.
Sometimes it starts when a person is under a lot of stress. Most people get better with treatment. Therapy can show you how to recognize and change your thinking patterns before they lead to panic.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. If you have OCD, you have repeated, upsetting thoughts called obsessions. You do the same thing over and over again to try to make the thoughts go away.
Those repeated actions are called compulsions.
Examples of obsessions are a fear of germs or a fear of being hurt. Compulsions include washing your hands, counting, checking on things or cleaning. Untreated, OCD can take over your life.
Researchers think brain circuits may not work properly in people who have OCD. It tends to run in families. The symptoms often begin in children or teens.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a real illness. You can get PTSD after living through or seeing a traumatic event, such as war, a hurricane, rape, physical abuse or a bad accident.
PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. It affects your life and the people around you.
- PTSD can cause problems like
- Flashbacks, or feeling like the event is happening again
- Trouble sleeping or nightmares
- Feeling alone
- Angry outbursts
- Feeling worried, guilty or sad
PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a frightening event and then continue.
Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later. PTSD can happen to anyone, even children.
Medicines can help you feel less afraid and tense. It might take a few weeks for them to work. Talking to a specially trained doctor or counselor also helps many people with PTSD. This is called talk therapy.
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger.
There are many specific phobias. Acrophobia is a fear of heights. You may be able to ski the world’s tallest mountains but be unable to go above the 5th floor of an office building.
Agoraphobia is a fear of public places, and claustrophobia is a fear of closed-in places.
If you become anxious and extremely self-conscious in everyday social situations, you could have a social phobia. Other common phobias involve tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, animals and blood.
- People with phobias try to avoid what they are afraid of. If they cannot, they may experience
- Panic and fear
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- A strong desire to get away
Treatment helps most people with phobias. Options include medicines, therapy or both.
Call our toll free, 24 hour Utah Treatment Center HELPLINE today at 1-888-576-HEAL (4325).
All calls are confidential.
Source(s): U.S. National Library of Medicine and Medline Plus.com